Several bills have been filed that would affect TRS operations, school employee retirement benefits, or school employee health insurance. Legislators can file bills through March 12.
Note that at this time, no action has been taken on any of these bills.
- HB 248 by Rep. Phil Stephenson would provide life insurance benefits to TRS members and annuitants through a life insurance policy purchased by TRS with a $100,000 cash value for each enrolled member. The TRS fund would be the owner and beneficiary of each life insurance policy. Enrollees can designate a beneficiary to receive $50,000 of the proceeds upon the member’s death.
- HB 430 by Rep. Ken King would eliminate TRS-Care immediately for retirees who are eligible for Medicare, but phase its elimination out over as much as 10 years for retirees not yet eligible for Medicare. The bill is part of a larger plan by King to improve TRS benefits overall, but other stated aspects of the plan are not included in this bill.
- HB 444 by Rep. Steve Allison would appropriate $1.2 billion from the Economic Stabilization Fund to TRS-Care.
- HB 577 by Rep. Stephenson would create an interim committee to study the feasibility of the plan laid out in HB 248 (see above).
- HB 625 by Rep. Ana Hernandez requires the TRS Board to consider a CPI-indexed increase to retirement benefits each year, if the fund is actuarially sound and has enough money to pay the increased benefit.
- HB 672 by Rep. Armando Martinez is identical to HB 625 by Hernandez, above.
- HB 733 by Rep. Jessica Gonzalez increases the state's contribution to active employe health insurance from the current $75/month to $150/month.
- HB 1124 by Rep. Sergio Munoz provides a one-time benefit adjustment to retirees with a retirement date between Aug. 31, 2004, and Aug. 31, 2015, in the amount of the lesser of 3% or $100/month. Also requires TRS to study the feasibility of offering an alternative annuity payment option under which benefits are paid on a gradually increasing scale.
- HB 1342 by Rep. Jeff Leach requires TRS to provide certain data regarding health insurance claims and costs to districts that request it in the course of searching for alternative health care coverage.
- HB 1527 by Rep. Gary Gates requires TRS to develop a bundled-pricing program for TRS-Care and ActiveCare, designed to reduce costs by contracting with providers for a consolidated rate for covered surgical procedures.
- HB 1552 by Rep. Trent Ashby eliminates the retire/rehire surcharges for bus drivers.
- HJR 73 by Rep. Terry Canales proposes an amendment to the Texas Constitution increasing the minimum state contribution to TRS and ERS from the current six percent to seven percent.
- SB 104 by Sen. Jose Menendez increases the minimum state contribution to TRS from six percent to seven percent.
- SB 106 by Sen. Menendez requires TRS to provide a one-time cost of living adjustment of the lesser of 3% or $100/month to employees who retired between Aug. 31, 2010, and Aug. 31, 2021.
- SB 202 by Sen. Charles Schwertner provides that employers are ultimately responsible for payment of the retire/rehire surcharges, and may not directly or indirectly pass the cost on to the retiree.
- SB 288 by Sen. Kel Seliger creates a “first-warning system” for retirees who are in violation of return-to-work limitations. If a retiree exceeds the limitations after receiving a warning, the retiree will owe a prorated amount of the TRS benefit they received during the relevant period; if the violation continues, TRS can withhold the full monthly benefit payment (the only option under current law).
- SB 482 by Sen. Schwertner requires both TRS and ERS to conduct studies every two years to evaluate the cost of feasibility of converting from a defined benefit plan (current structure) to a defined contribution plan (akin to a 401k or 403b). The report must evaluate two scenarios, one in which all members of the system are required to transition to a defined contribution plan, and one in which only new employees are require to participate to the defined contribution plan.
- SB 483 by Sen. Schwertner requires TRS and ERS to report to lawmakers on investment returns for the most recent 1-year, 5-year, 10-year and 20-year periods. The report must include an estimate of what the balance of the fund would be in each period if the system had achieved its target rate of return.